Digital "Rights" Management, Digital Restrictions Management, Dishonest Relationship Misinformation

This is a generic acronym used to describe a system of software, often including technical measures, used by copyright holders who "claim" that this stops or reduces copyright infringement. DRM in fact does not affect those engaged in unlawful activities, and can only impose hidden digitally encoded contract terms on law abiding citizens.

Please see: Alphabet soup of acronyms: TPM, DRM, TCPA, RMS, RMI, Protecting property rights in a digital world.

Why legal protection for technical measures is controversial

On August 14'th I gave a presentation on legal protection for technological measures, and why this policy doesn't fit well within Copyright law (Slides, link to audio recording)

Summary: The types of activities which copyright regulates all assume that you already have access to content. Copyright never concerned itself with concept of access, which was left to other laws.

Technical measures can restrict access, but can't in the real world directly restrict the types of activities that copyright regulates.

Copyright and technical measures are disjoint, but technical measures and other areas of law such as contract and e-commerce overlap.

Is technology useful for stopping an authorized person from doing things which Copyright regulates? Should we radically change "Copyright" to address this problem, or is this a non-Copyright issue?

A simple guide to copyright

I was thinking about the recent DMCA rulemaking in the US, which led me to this "simple guide to copyright".

You can legally do pretty much anything you like with your own property,

unless it's a "fixation" of a copyrighted work and what you want do is a right granted to the rightsholder,

unless it's covered by one of the "fair dealing" exceptions.

That's not too bad. Of course, in the US, or in Canada if C-32 passes as-is, you need to add a couple more lines:

Federal Bill C-32 tramples areas of provincial jurisdiction

2010-06-11: I sent a letter this afternoon to my Member of Provincial parliament for Ottawa South, who happens to be Premier Dalton McGuinty. I copied it to my federal MP, as well as to Andrea Horwath, Leader of Ontario’s New Democrats, and Tim Hudak, Leader of the Ontario PC Party.

Update 2010-07-29: I have sent an additional letter to Mr. McGuinty.

Thank you for your letter of July 27, 2010, in response to the letter I sent on June 11, 20101. I hope that you will reconsider the response, which was to say that it would be inappropriate for you to comment on a federal piece of legislation.

I forgot to include a link to the FAQ on why I disagree with what CMEC has been asking for.

Negative effects of the DMCA in the US

Interesting statistics from Copyright and Technology Blog :

[...] academic research into DRM and other rights technologies in the United States has diminished to virtually nil.

(For example, a search of IEEE shows that of all digital rights-related research papers published from 2008 to the present, 40% were from China, 27% were from the rest of Asia, 20% were from Europe, and less than 4% were from the United States. Spain by itself had more activity than the US.)

Logic and legal protection for TPMs

I was thinking about this last night after reading another "but we have to have the C-32 approach to TPMs for the creators to get paid" article, and think I found a way to explain my thinking.

Let's divide Canadians into 4 groups based on their ability to bypass TPMs and their respect for copyright law :

Can bypass TPMs Can't bypass TPMs
Respect Copyright law Engineers Comsumers
Don't respect copyright law Pirates Wannabe pirates

Electronic anklet trial a 'disaster'

A CBC News article documents yet another failed attempt to misapply technology to solve unrelated legal issue. I only wish this government would do evidence based policy, and look at when specific technologies have failed to solve legal problems elsewhere (IE: access controls in copyright in the USA has been a failure, and yet a far worse version is in Bill C-32). In the case of DMCA TPMs it wasn't a small sample, but a failed experiment committed against the entire country.

My participation in the Digital Economy Consultation

The deadline for ideas and submissions on Canada’s digital economy strategy has been extended until midnight, Tuesday, July 13

I don't think I will have the time to make a formal submission. I have instead started to post to the ideas forum. If you agree with these ideas, please vote them up. Please also add comments.

Moore has his facts wrong on Copyright

Author, broadcaster, editor, journalist, musician, negotiator, singer, and MP Charlie Angus has released a letter to Heritage Minister James Moore discussing how the Minister has his facts wrong on Copyright.

It is great that we have an actual creator in parliament, able to speak on behalf of fellow creators, rather than too many parliamentarians that get confused by intermediaries falsely claiming to represent creators!

My impressions of the DyscultureD Canadian audio blog

I am a big fan of audio blogs. Some people call them Podcasts because Apple iPod users seem to claim responsibility for making them popular. Leo Laporte over at TWIT.tv, a large audio/video blogging network with a long history in broadcasting, tried to convince people to call them Netcasts as they were simply broadcasting over the Internet. While I'm a listener to a few TWIT.tv shows, and a few other non-Canadian shows, I have always been looking for Canadian shows that cover some of the technology and political stories from the uniquely Canadian perspective.

If lawyers are confusing copyright with other laws, what about the rest of us?

A tweet from lawyer Barry Sookman (who has also blocked me, BTW), referenced an article with Further Copyright talk. At the end the author, Todd, said:

So is circumventing a TPM (even for legal purposes) like going into a theatre without paying or taking a book from a bookstore without paying? Or is it like being able to photocopy the relevant sections of a book in a library? To me it seems more like the former than the later.

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